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Out of a sense of loyalty, many women refuse to testify against their spouses and partners.
In addition, more than half of the women in state prisons have suffered physical or sexual abuse. For years, Smith’s parents, who were raising her son while she was incarcerated, galvanized a tireless seeking clemency for their daughter.
He was eight years her senior and, unbeknownst to Smith, the leader of a million crack cocaine ring and one of the FBI’s 15 Most Wanted. Smith made several unsuccessful attempts to leave Hall, who abused her physically and emotionally.
She has received many awards for her advocacy and activism, and she uses her personal story to educate others about the social, economic and political consequences of our nation’s punitive drug policies.But while she waited for the courts to decide, this was how she’d be forced to spend the last month of her pregnancy.The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) has a policy in which pregnant people are automatically, and involuntarily, placed in the medical infirmary during their third trimester.“My burden is that I represent the thousands of others still currently incarcerated; some are my friends who I left behind that deserve an opportunity to raise their children,” says Smith.More than 60% of women in state prisons have a child under age 18.